“In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.”
The two thieves, who were being crucified alongside Jesus, joined the crowd in hurling insults at him. They mocked Jesus even as they themselves faced death. However, at some point one of them was awakened to the fear of God. One of the criminals cried out: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” The other criminal, awakened to the fear of God, rebuked him saying:
“Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Some might argue that it wasn’t the fear of God that motivated this man, but rather the fear of death. However, the other criminal was facing death too, yet he continued to hurl his insults upon the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not fear God.
Too quickly we cast our lots in with those who have no fear of God, who mock the idea of Christ, and live as enemies of the cross. It isn’t long before the fear of men overtakes our fear of God. The prophet Isaiah warns us in Isaiah 8:11-13:
“The Lord spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said: “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”
In fact, Jesus declared in Matthew 10:28:
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
It is a tragedy that so many have lost the fear of God. Many have been deceived to believe that God is not going to judge us, confusing His patience and forbearance towards us with forgiveness. However, Romans 14:10-12 declares:
“For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “As surely as I live, says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
The fear of God lies at the core of our faith. In fact, it is the fear of God that activates our faith.
Pastor Scott Burr